Dodge & Burn: Atlanta's Litter and Other Discarded Artifacts

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Dodge & Burn is a series of photo essays documenting local culture with a focus on artful imagery, movement, and light.
While living in Atlanta on and off over the last five years, I have had an ongoing fascination with photographing the random trash and discarded items that I find all over the city. While these images could certainly be discussed from an environmental standpoint, that is not at the heart of my curiosity. Ever since I was a kid, I have been a “pack rat.” I have always had a hard time letting things go, both in the literal and figurative sense. Part of the reason I am drawn to photography, in my unqualified psychological self-diagnosis, is my fundamental need to save things, to honor things, and to protect things. This project ties in to my need to preserve not only the physical items I photographed, but also the visual experience I had of seeing them with my own eyes.

Beyond this preservation, I am also intrigued by the archaeological implications of the subjects. We often marvel at the utilitarian artifacts left behind by ancient empires and societies, but we rarely give our modern equivalents any significant scrutiny or honor. We simply discard them without a second thought, leaving them to decompose. These objects, in many ways, are us. They speak to our most basic needs for food, love, lust and leisure. Each discarded item in this series can tell a story about where it has been and how it has been consumed and left for trash. They are the cultural talismans from our contemporary world and to me they are worth holding on to, if only in pictures.


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